30% off Emotions and Missions book

Get 30% off individual orders of Emotions and Christian Missions with this flyer!

Not only does this book contain my first published chapter(!) but it also features truly excellent work by editors Claire McLisky, Daniel Midena, and Karen Vallgårda and a host of talented contributors.


Hurry – offer expires 31st December!


New book – emotional missionaries

The emotional experience of Victorian women missionaries was something that I tried to research while doing my PhD. But, as with much study of historical emotions, the experience itself was difficult – if not impossible – to examine. All I could access were the written accounts of emotional experience, which were often written to fit an accepted formula or to evoke emotions in a projected audience. I don’t disregard such written accounts of emotional experience completely – just because a feeling is described in a formulaic manner, doesn’t make it necessarily inauthentic – but I did change my focus slightly to think more about how the emotions of my missionaries were textually expressed and how such emotional texts functioned within the Christian community which read them. This approach also made more sense for a literature specialist in an English department!

It turns out, it’s also an approach that makes sense to certain historians studying emotions too, as when I read the publicity material for a new book on missionaries and emotions it struck me that the essays aren’t focusing on how emotions were felt by missionaries, but how they were ‘conceptualised and practised’

Missionary emotions screen shot.

I was thrilled to be asked to contribute an essay for this book, based on my PhD research. The process of revising, post-PhD, what was initially a seminar paper written pre-PhD, has been an interesting one, which I’ll write about in another post. For now, though, I just wanted to share how pleased I am that this fascinating project, long in discussion, is finally coming to fruition. We don’t yet have a publication date, but the book’s appearance on Palgrave’s website is pretty exciting. Exciting to me, personally, because I think it will probably be my first proper print publication. But exciting more generally, because I think its editors, Claire McLisky, Daniel Midena, and Karen Vallgårda, have really made the case for the importance of studying emotion in missionary history.

For more information about the book, see Palgrave’s website.

Love, Desire and Melancholy: Inspired by Constance Maynard

ImageJust wanted to promote an event that I’m involved with, taking place on 6th November 2012 at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus. The Centre for the History of the Emotions and Queen Mary, University of London Archives are hosting a symposium exploring love, desire, melancholy and religion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These themes are inspired by the personal experiences described in the autobiographical writings of Constance Maynard (1849-1935), which were recently digitised by Queen Mary Archives.

Constance Maynard was a pioneer in higher education for women. She was also a prolific writer, whose personal writings cover over 40 years of her life and touch on topics such as her role in Westfield College, her devout Christian faith, her close friendships with other women and her attempts to understand her emotions.

Keynotes are being given by Seth Koven and Pauline Phipps – who is in the process of writing a biography of Maynard. Other speakers include Laura Doan, Sue Morgan, Carol Mavor and Helena Whitbread.

Places can be booked at: http://maynard.eventbrite.co.uk/